While I can relate to the suburbs more than a beach town any day, the nightly telling of the ram-shackled adventures of Ramsay Street is akin to a bad joke. Maybe, a terrible joke. Predictable plots, bad acting, cheesy music, silly flash backs and Kennedy’s musical interludes just aren’t up there with the quality we’ve all come to expect via HBO via USA via ADSL.
It just keeps going, day after day, year after year, English tourist after English tourist, and the cast and crew, the ones of which I’ve talked to, can’t stand it either. They’re embarrassed to be working on such menial nonsense while they’re waiting for their careers to actually kick off. But I for one find it pleasing and reassuring, perhaps uplifting too, to be greeted by Toady’s hawiian shirts all these years later, like nothing has ever changed.
The thing about good jokes is that most everyone has their own opinion on what makes the best joke. Does it contain the appropriate amount of pun, is it clever, is it witty, is it dry, is it snide or uplifting? Does it start with a chicken and end in ‘Yo Mumma”? Steven Fry went over the topic once, it seems that Christmas Crackers always contain bad jokes because they unify the family, and what a family needs most at Christmas is unity. While a joke seen as good probably only resonates with a certain spectrum of the family unit, a bad joke allows a universal groan to be shared with glee.
Besides, the idea of a universal good is much less feasible than a universal bad. Dante can paint a feasible representation of what we imagine hell might be like because we all have a pretty universal idea of what misery is. Being whipped, burned, violated and vomited on, without no prior consent, is fairly university seen as a bad time, but listening to harps while dressing in white on a cloud forever isn’t everyone’s idea of perfect uplifting beauty.
It’s a bad joke, in the way that it unites. It unifies families and even plays down it’s own inelegance, just so we can feel better about our own capabilities for intelligent thought. It’s like that time your dad let you win at chess so you’d feel good about yourself and maybe even get good at it eventually. It shows you where it’s going with far less subtlety than it needs to and does so five nights a week to the sounds of cast iron cookware heating my tea.